The hot national topic regarding Jets football is quarterback. People want to know if Chad Pennington will be replaced Sunday by Kellen Clemens when the Green & White host the Buffalo Bills at the Meadowlands.
But head coach Eric Mangini, who has no timetable on naming a starter, is looking at the big picture.
"I'm going to look at everything. I'm going to look at everything and really evaluate it across the board and see where we can gain some more consistency," he said. "It applies to all the areas."
After last week's loss to the Eagles, Mangini reiterated that Pennington was his quarterback. But following a fourth consecutive defeat Sunday in Cincinnati, he was noncommittal. Media and fans tend to think Clemens will be in the lineup Sunday, but WR and team captain Laveranues Coles said people shouldn't overlook that the entire team is being evaluated.
"He let us know in meetings today that there is nobody outside of it. You all say specifically Chad — no, he's not talking about Chad," Coles said of Mangini. "He is talking about everybody from top to bottom. If you're not doing what you're supposed to do, anybody could be sat down at any time."
Coles doesn't think it would be reasonable for Mangini to establish a mandate that Pennington was exempt from.
"You can't say we're going to evaluate everybody except this one guy," he said. "We're all on the same team right now. We're all losers right now."
That's a harsh assessment from a frank Coles, but nobody is happy about where the Jets stand. There are still nine games left in the season and LC said everyone could do themselves a favor by taking an honest look in the mirror.
"Everybody needs to take a step back and look at themselves, see exactly what you are doing. Evaluate yourself, correct yourself. Be as harsh on yourself as you can," he said. "The coaches in turn need to turn around and be as harsh on us as they can. In turn, he [Mangini] is going to turn around and critique everybody. Are you doing the best you can to help this team?"
Pennington has always done his best to help the Jets. Nobody inside the organization would question his effort, but everyone outside looks at the QB when things aren't going well. Despite a 1-6 record, Pennington's numbers aren't bad as he's compiled an 88.6 passer rating with nine touchdowns and seven interceptions.
"It comes with the territory," said S Kerry Rhodes. "He is a quarterback in New York City. The team is not doing well, so all the blame is going to be on him first. It is what it is. He can shoulder all of the burden. He's done it before. He's been here and he's won here. He is going through a tough time now, but so is the team. We are still behind him."
Evaluations have begun and they include the quarterback position.
"Really, what we're looking to do is to win the next game," Mangini said. "It's specific to the next game, all the different combinations of people that will give us the best shot for that game."